Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Kazakhstan And A New Chapter of Regional Constructive Interaction

On June 9, citizens of Kazakhstan went to the polls for an early presidential election and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won a sweeping victory in a presidential election, with taking 70.8 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election.
Nazarbayev who has ruled Kazakhstan for 29 years, announced his retirement in March. Nazarbayev has served as independent Kazakhstan’s leader since its inception in 1991 and was named the first president of Kazakhstan prior to independence by the Supreme Soviet in April 1990. Thus, the presidential change in Kazakhstan will be the first of its kind in almost 30 years. Therefore, presidential election will be a defining moment of 21st century Kazakhstan. The election will affect political life at all levels and citizen interaction with their government for years to come.
The Fate of Nazarbayev
Nazarbayev, who had led the oil-rich republic for almost three decades before stepping down in March, will retain specific powers. Nazarbayev will hold the official title of Yelbasy, or national leader, and will continue to run the ruling Nur Otan party.
Radical elements pursuing to destabilize Kazakhstan
As many other Asian countries, there are “foreign-based” opposition figures in Kazakhstan, who try to leave no stones unturned to destabilize Kazakhstan. They did their best to encouraged voters to boycott the poll. These radical figures funded and supported by certain foreign countries have a harsh interpretation of Islam and want to establish a hardline regime in Kazakhstan. They try to detached Kazakhstan from the regional and international community and stop the development pace in the country and keep it back warded and isolated from other parts of the world.
Promoting Dialogue
Citizens discontent is a positive phenomenon if managed properly. In Kazakhstan like any other countries, there are people who urge the government to further open up to the world and more involve the citizens in political decision making process. Considering the importance of the integration of the public mass in the national governance in general, and especially the youth, Tokayev has promised to set up a “special committee” to promote dialogue between the citizens including the young activists critical of the government.  This mechanism will pave the way  for an equal dialogue between the people and authorities.
The Way Forward
Tokayev has promised to continue to take guidance from Nazarbayev on strategic matters. Such arrangement under which Nazarbayev effectively remains in charge ensures policy continuity and it also ensures political certainty in Kazakhstan.
On the foreign policy side, Tokayev, who has studied at an elite Soviet diplomatic school in Moscow and focused on China, is likely to continue Nazarbayev’s policy of balancing between Russia, China and the West. That will ensure the engagement of the foreign energy and mining companies that have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in Kazakhstan. Such approach has helped Kazakhstan to play a vital role in the region to bridge the gaps between these powers. This policy has helped Kazakhstan attract foreign investment and open up its markets for its oil and metals exports.
Kazakhstan enjoys a vital geopolitical role in the Central Asia. It has taken good EURASIA initiatives and has played a vital role to close the gap between Russia, China and The West. A smooth political transfer will ensure the continuation of this approach in the future. It will not only ensure the continuation of Kazakhstan political and economic development, but also will ensure the constructive engagement of Russia, China and the West in the region. Last but not the least, the good news of smooth power transfer in Kazakhstan is highly welcomed by Afghans. Because it ensures them of continuing the constructive mutual cooperation between the two nations that they will be further strengthened it in the future.